There are case mods that attract attention with bright LEDs and custom-cut cases, and then there are those that attempt something different and daring.
This system we saw at the Gigabyte/Aorus booth at Taipei 101 here at Computex definitely falls into the latter category. It combines an immersion-cooled PC with a small school of guppies living in a state of what appears to be ignorant bliss above a sunken (and spinning) Aorus GTX 1080, and with a matching motherboard as the backdrop.
According to a Gigabyte rep, this in-house-designed system, which has no official name, has its components submerged in a non-toxic, non-conductive 3M liquid that’s typically used to keep data centers cool. While we weren’t able to confirm the exact liquid used, it’s probably a derivative of the company’s Novec line. Both the graphics card and the motherboard (which hides behind the fish and a separate pane of glass) are submerged in the liquid. And, to be as clear as the liquid itself, the system was powered up and running during the demo.
There’s no protective barrier separating the 3M liquid below from the water and the fish above it. But the density of the cooling liquid keeps the fish (and their leavings) safely in the water above, and a carbon filter system installed on the side keeps the environment clean, just like any other aquarium setup.
To further ensure the safety of the fish (and the submerged PC, we suppose), a custom cooling system using a trio of in-line CPU coolers pumps the 3M liquid out of the system for cooling and temperature monitoring, making sure the water above the liquid remains an optimal temperature for the fish living above. If the 3M liquid got too hot, it would turn into a gas and bubble up through the water. That would probably be bad for our finned friends, but the water would likely heat up to deadly levels before that happened anyway. Let’s hope Gigabyte was extra careful about choosing reliable components for this setup.
We’re always wary of situations like this where animals could be subjected to unhealthy or dangerous conditions for the sake of some wow-factor at a tech trade show. But we were told by Gigabyte that these fish had been living happily in their unusual home for two months so far, and that not a single swimming resident had died.
That’s certainly a better track record than we remember from our own attempts at creating fish habitats in our homes in decades past. Maybe next year Gigabyte will take this idea to the logical next level: A fully submerged data center, protected by sharks possibly with laser beams. Now that’s the kind of data security we could really get excited about.